Avenue of Heroes: Philip M. Quast

Written by CAPT Timothy M. Quast, MC, USN

Vice Admiral Philip Quast was a 36-year-old naval surface warfare veteran and the son, brother and father of naval officers. After serving two tours in Vietnam and leading the Nimitz Battle Group during Operation Desert Storm, Quast distinguished himself as the first Pacific Fleet recipient of the “Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award”, which recognizes the leadership skill in command at sea.

After graduating from Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Quast served in a variety of seagoing assignments, including navigator aboard USS King (DLG 10); armament officer aboard USS Twining (DD 940); Commander, River Patrol Division 532 in Vietnam; and Executive Officer of USS Talbot (DEG 4).

He was commanding officer of USS Benjamin Stoddert (DDG 22) and commissioning commander of USS Bunker Hill (CG 52). During Bunker Hill’s initial deployment to the Western Pacific, he served as the Battleship Missouri Battle Group Commander and supported Operation Earnest Will. — the escort of oil tankers flying the American flag passing through the Strait of Hormuz. During Desert Storm he commanded the Nimitz Battlegroup, Cruiser-Destroyer Group Three.

Vice Admiral Quast’s shore assignments included instructor at the California Maritime Academy; Commander’s Personnel Program Officer, Cruiser-Destroyer Force, US Atlantic Fleet; Weapons Systems Engineering Instructor and Battalion Officer for the Midshipman Brigade at the United States Naval Academy; and Junior Assignment Manager, Personnel Office.

Vice Admiral Quast’s Flag assignments included: Assignments Division Chief, Naval Military Personnel Command and Chief of Naval Operations Staff as Director, Total Force/Manpower Programming Division and as Director, Military Personnel Policy Division. He was also Director of the Surface Warfare Division, Chief of Staff Naval Personnel. His last assignment was in command of Military Sealift Command.

Vice Admiral Quast’s personal decorations include: the Legion of Merit with four gold stars in lieu of later awards; Bronze Star with Combat “V” and a Gold Star; Meritorious Service Medal; and Navy Medal. Vice Admiral Quast died in 2019 and is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Peggy Lord; five children and 12 grandchildren.

The Hometown Banner Program is a military service recognition program sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program honored 206 local heroes. On May 21, 11 more will be honored. The City funds all program costs. City staff and volunteers from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association, and the Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation. The inspiration for the program came spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. The news spread quickly in Coronado. The local Rotary club distributed American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor fallen servicemen. As the motorcade approached the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a single Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for his comrades to pass. By this time, it was clear that Third and Fourth Streets were already an Avenue of Heroes. From this spontaneous start, the program launched in May 2015 with 18 banners. Ceremonies are held twice a year, and men and women with community ties have been recognized by the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. The Hometown Banner program is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and heritage of service to the country.

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